TLC — the network that mostly offers shows about what the New York Times refers to as "abnormal families" — is working on a series called All-American Muslim. Hmm.
Here's the thing: The network's bread and butter are people whose lives are extremely unusual: Kody and the polygamist gals on Sister Wives; The Duggars; the oddly afflicted folks on My Strange Addiction; the demonic imps and deluded moms of Toddlers & Tiaras; the sad souls on Hoarding: Buried Alive and the freaks of Freaky Eaters. There are also two shows about people who are physically unusual: Little People, Big World and The Little Couple. So grouping Muslim families in with that bunch is feels a little like saying, "Oh my! Allah! Muslims, what freaks!"
Then again, the network also airs Cake Boss, Police Women Of Broward County, and LA Ink, programs where the emphasis is on unique personalities and interesting lives. And, as the Times' Brian Stelter points out: "Muslim-Americans are depicted relatively rarely on American television." Amy Winter, the general manager of TLC, stated in a press release:
Through these families and their diverse experiences, we will explore how they blend their values and traditions with everyday life in America, providing insight into their culture with care and compassion.
The series will follow five Muslim families living in Dearborn, Michigan. One woman is marrying an Irish Catholic man; there's a couple who are having their first child; and there's a police official who works to reduce discrimination in his community. The obvious endgame is that by watching humans relate to other humans, viewers will realize, "Muslims! Just like us!" And that it's tough to find fault with that. It's a good idea. Let's just hope the show doesn't air immediately after harrowing horrorshow I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.
TLC Plans Series On Muslim Families [New York Times]